Perhaps the most common focal point in human interaction is the eyes. When we first meet someone we are most often making eye contact. In addition to the emotion that is portrayed through the eyes, there’s clearly a sense of youth or aging that is associated with the appearance of the eyes.
Early aging of the upper and lower eyelid can include the beginning of bulges or excess skin that shows either a “tired” or “sad” look. From a cosmetic surgery standpoint, perhaps no other area of the face requires more judgment, communication and thoughtful decision making than rejuvenation of the upper and lower eyelids.
Many times, upper and lower eyelid surgery is combined to diminish the total amount of recovery that might be needed by doing the procedures separately. Often, eyelid surgery is performed with a facelift or brow lift. It is important to understand what is involved in each surgery, and which procedure or combination of procedures will achieve the desired result with as little recovery time as possible.
Upper eyelid surgery may include simply the removal of excess skin, which is a quick recovery and often done under very light oral or IV sedation. Patients are typically back to normal activities in 1-2 days.
On occasion, elevation of the brow is recommended. This depends on the aesthetic evaluation of the eyebrow and is much more common in females. Over elevation of the brow is to be avoided at all costs, as this gives an unnatural and “surprised” look. This is especially important in males, as an elevated eyebrow tends to give a feminine look.
Lower eyelid surgery requires more thought and consideration…each individual must be evaluated for their unique anatomy. It’s certainly not “one size fits all” when it comes to eyelid surgery. As simple as upper eyelid surgery appears, the lower eyelids are consistently and clearly more challenging from both a recovery and decision making standpoint.
Lower eyelid surgery often includes one or more of the following components:
1. Treatment of surface-skin texture changes (wrinkles) may be treated with chemical peels or lasers to diminish surface skin wrinkling
2. Elimination of loose or excess skin
3. Removal or repositioning of fat bulges
4. Elevation of the eyelid muscle to smooth out the aging cheek- eyelid area
Lower eyelid surgery can require recovery from 3-5 days to up to 2 -3 weeks depending on the type of work activity or social obligations the patient is entertaining. Most experienced surgeons believe that lower eyelid surgery can produce gratifying results yet potentially longer recovery.
Due to the complicated nature of deciding on the correct treatment or series of procedures to achieve ideal results for each individual patient, the advice of a knowledgeable board certified plastic surgeon is imperative when considering surgery.
A second opinion is always encouraged, as many surgeons’ approaches and aggressiveness varies. Patients who get more than one opinion can proceed with the confidence that they are well informed.